The NFL overtime rules highlight the most complicated way to end a game in all of American sports and need to change for the betterment of competition and players’ careers.
In baseball, both teams get one shot on offense to try and take the lead to give themselves a chance to win. In both NCAA basketball and the NBA, they extend the game by playing another quarter that is significantly shortened, and if they’re still tied at the end of that overtime they play another one. In NCAA football, each team gets at least one chance with the ball starting at the opponents 25-yard line. After one overtime if the game is still tied they go into second overtime but instead of going for the extra point kick they have to for a two-point conversion. If the game is still tied after the second overtime both teams will alternate attempting two-point conversions until the other team misses one resulting in an end game.
Many American football fans agree with the NCAA’s version of overtime as this gives both teams an equal opportunity to win the game. It also matches every other major sport in America as everyone gets a shot on offense.
Following what was an amazing final five minutes of overtime, during the Sunday, Jan. 23 divisional-round game between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs, it was a shame to not be unable to see what Bills quarterback Josh Allen could do due to the overtime rules. Unless you were a Chiefs fan, many football fans across the country were irate about the overtime rules that wrecked yet another amazing finish to a game.
“It made me feel like whoever won the coin toss would win the game.” said local fan Caden Shooltz, 19, of Byron Center.
Over the years there have been plenty of overtime games throughout the regular season and postseason that have spoiled an MVP quarterback team’s winning chances as they never got a chance with the ball. Let’s review.
2019 AFC Championship game: New England Patriots v. Kansas City Chiefs
We’ll start with a game during which the Chiefs got bit by the overtime rule that just helped them win big on Jan. 23. During the 2019 AFC Championship, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation. When the coin toss came to determine who would start overtime with the ball, the Patriots won the toss, and quarterback Tom Brady took the Patriots on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that wound up with the Patriots punching it into the endzone with a run.
Super Bowl 51: New England Patriots v. Atlanta Falcons
This overtime fiasco is one of the most known in all of the overtime controversy. Going into the fourth quarter the Falcons possessed a 28-3 lead with little to no hope for a comeback from the Patriots. Brady ended up bringing the Patriots back within striking distance for the tie. He drove the Patriots down the field on a 10-play, 93-yard drive that was also capped off by a touchdown run. The Patriots once again won the overtime coin toss. Brady drove the Patriots down the field on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a touchdown run. Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons were left hopeless as they never got a chance with the ball.
2016 NFC Divisional Round: Arizona Cardinals v. Green Bay Packers
Finally, one of the last big, overtime fiascos that sticks out the most was the crazy ending of the 2016 NFC Divisional Round. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Packers tied the game with a hail mary touchdown to tight end Jeff Janis with no time left on the clock. This would be the last that we saw the Packers’ exuberant offense on the field as the Cardinals won the overtime coin toss and it took quarterback Carson Palmer all of three plays to win the game in overtime. Palmer hit his main receiver on the opening play of overtime, Larry Fitzgerald for a 75-yard pass, and then two plays later hit Fitzgerald again on a five-yard shovel pass for the touchdown. Rodgers and his team were left in awe as they just hit the one-in-a-million chance of a hail mary to bring them to this point.
These three examples are perfect explanations of why the NFL needs to change the overtime rules. Each and every one of these games resulted in an NFL MVP not getting a chance to show what they can do in overtime.
There needs to be a change to the overtime rules and the current NCAA rules would be a great model to follow. Instead of starting at their opponents 25-yard line, start at the 50-yard line. Whoever wins the coin toss may elect to receive or defend first and if they receive they have at least four downs to score. After they score the game won’t be over, the other team gets a chance at either tying or winning the game if they succeed at tying the game they repeat this process until someone fails. If they fail, then the game is declared over and the team ahead wins.
Some other alternate choices for overtime would be to play a whole other quarter. This is kinda like what the format is now but instead, it won’t end right after someone takes the lead.
Fix the overtime rules, Mr. Goodell, for the betterment of the players, fans, and everyone else who wants to see good, competitive football.